Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen would each lose billions of pounds in economic output if the UK Government follows through with its threat of walking away from the EU without a trade deal, following fresh research by the London School of Economics (LSE).
Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has seized on the figures to say ministers should commit to staying in the single market and customs union. A hard Brexit, the investigation shows, would cost the UK £430bn over five years. Last weekend senior cabinet minister Liam Fox again talked up the possibility of the UK walking away from the EU without a trade agreement.
The experts suggest Scotland would lose almost £30bn in the five years after a hard Brexit and over £17bn in the event of a soft Brexit. The study also shows it would be devastating for Scottish cities and that they would be among the hardest hit in the UK.
Edinburgh would lose 6% (£5.5billion) of its economic output after a hard Brexit and 3.5% (£3.2bn) after a soft Brexit over the same five-year period. Glasgow would see a 5.5% fall with a hard Brexit, costing £5.4bn, or a 3% fall in economic output (almost £3bn) with a soft Brexit. A hard Brexit would cost Aberdeen 7% (£3.8 bn) of its economic output while a soft Brexit would cost it 4.5% (£2.4 billion).
Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said:
“This work by the LSE brings out the extent to which Scotland would be seriously damaged economically by a no-deal Brexit. These economic modelling exercises are necessarily approximate, but if anything they understate the damage once we take into account the knock-on effects. And the damage to cities such as Edinburgh and Aberdeen will hit the whole of the UK because they are central to Britain’s prosperity.
“The UK Government must guarantee our membership of the single market and customs union. This is precisely why the Liberal Democrats, alone among political parties, are campaigning for an exit from Brexit by offering the people a vote on the final deal."
Scottish Liberal Democrat MP, Christine Jardine said:
“These figures demonstrate clearly the need for a rethink on Brexit. This situation is potentially disastrous for the economies of Edinburgh and Scotland as a whole, and not what the Brexiteers claimed and continue to claim.
“We in the Liberal Democrats saw the dangers in Brexit before the referendum. Now we know that argument was justified and we must continue to rail against this damaging Brexit and demand the public given a fresh choice once we see the details of the deal... if there is one."